FALLOUT. Is this meant to be a new standard for the dystopian genre? [REVIEW]

Did the series “Fallout” manage to prove that dystopia can be portrayed in a completely different and yet effective way?

Marcin Konczewski

11 April 2024


I’ll admit honestly – I’m not much of a gamer type, and I’m certainly no expert in this field. Sadly, I have struggled to find time for virtual games for years now. It’s a conscious choice. I really appreciate them, but for now, they’re a melody of the past that I plan to return to because it’s the most immersive form of cultural experience. Back when I could spend time in front of a keyboard and mouse for purposes other than writing, I fortunately managed to play Fallout. I loved Tactics and the second installment. I have a huge sentimental attachment to them. Therefore, I approached the announcement of the upcoming Prime production with great skepticism. However, my attitude shifted over time. Initially, the trailers gave me hope for something interesting. Subsequent materials reinforced that feeling. When I sat down for the pre-premiere screening, I still had a cool and rational approach. It changed after the first episode, and with each subsequent one, I realized I was dealing with an exceptional, very well-thought-out, and finely crafted series that could stir things up in the near future. Finally, after the finale, I now know that Fallout is a visual triumph, ambitious, with a great story, wonderfully written, and superbly portrayed characters. It’s a complete fulfillment for gamers and series fans, with plenty of subtle nods for us. Absolutely outstanding.

Fallout is told from the perspectives of three different characters – Lucy, a resident of Vault, a Ghoul, and Maximus, who dreams of becoming a Knight of the Brotherhood of Steel. Their stories intertwine in truly… diverse ways to reveal the truth about the world, the VaultTec Vaults, and themselves. The journey to revelation is incredible. Ironically, just a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be marveling at game adaptations again. Until recently, they seemed like particularly difficult material to transfer to the screens of cinemas and TVs. Successful attempts could be counted on one hand, such as the 1996 Mortal Kombat, which managed to maintain the atmosphere of the originals and skillfully tell the story. Suddenly, in recent years, something has changed. TV series and movies have emerged triumphant financially and earned positive reviews from audiences and critics – The Last of Us, Arcane, Cyberpunk, Rampage, Sonic, and even Super Mario Bros., which became a hit among children and Nintendo fans. I believe that the latest Prime production, Fallout, ranks among the absolute best game adaptations. In fact! It’s one of the most intriguing productions depicting the dystopian, post-apocalyptic reality of recent years. It astutely dissects American concerns about the future, elites, and capitalism. Its mechanisms are meticulously analyzed point by point.


Fallout already breaks the mold visually and iconographically, shifting the paradigm of how post-apocalyptic reality is portrayed after calamity or disaster. We’re accustomed to gray, dirty shots in the style of The Road, Silo, or classic post-apocalyptic scenarios like Waterworld and especially Mad Max. Fallout, however, offers a full palette of possibilities – a Cold War reality stylized from the 1960s, retrofuturistic Vaults full of contrasting, vivid colors, western-themed junkyards, or atomic deserts and ruins of grand cities. The visual scope and depth are at times shocking. Natural scenery and meticulous decorations are heavily employed. However, crucially – the CGI is kept to a necessary minimum (or is so subtle that it’s invisible). The Brotherhood of Steel knights’ heavy armor doesn’t look like cheap cosplay, and outdoor shots don’t convey a sense of sterility. That, however, is a deliberate portrayal of the Vaults. None of this is art for art’s sake – the visual and decorative presentation has a purpose, a message that connects it to the story being told. And that story is at times incredibly intriguing, surprisingly brutal, and full of unexpected charm. The whole package is complemented by music familiar from the games. The atmosphere practically spills over.

This world would be empty, worth only a brief visit like an art gallery with pretty frames, if not for believable, well-written characters. Fallout doesn’t disappoint in this regard either. The casting alone is very well done, especially with the trio of main characters (no, that doesn’t mean the supporting cast is just background!). I know many fans are hoping for a certain dog to steal the show, but not this time. It’s all thanks to the writers, director, and actors who together gave us characters so vastly different yet intriguing, with motivations that resonate emotionally with ours. We are alternately treated to truly powerful dramatic elements, a healthy dose of humor, and a gradual unveiling of the world’s secrets. The most interesting aspect is that we can understand each character on some level. The standout for me in this regard was the brilliantly played Ghoul by the distinctive Walton Goggins. However, this doesn’t mean the younger actors – Ella Purnell and Aaron Clifton Moten – are any less.


Will Fallout win over the hearts of audiences and critics? I think so. It’s a fantastic, surprising production that caught me off guard. I’m truly rooting for Prime’s series, which should win over not only game fans but also all viewers fond of dystopian themes, looking for something different and fresh within them. Fallout has the potential and could become, especially visually, an absolute game-changer in how these stories are portrayed.

Marcin Konczewski

Marcin Konczewski

The founder of the Kon (Horse) Movie fanpage, where he transforms into a film animal who gallops with pleasure through the multiverse of superhero productions, science-fiction, fantasy and all kinds of animations. If he had to say something about himself, he would say that Kon is a pop culture lover, a self-proclaimed critic constantly looking for a human in cinema, a fan of non games, literature, dinosaurs and Batman. Professionally, a teacher (by choice), always opposed to the concrete education system, strongly pushing alternative forms of education. He quietly writes fairy tales and fantastic stories for his little son. A Polish philologist by education. He collaborates with several publishing houses and YouTube channels.

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